Jaime Reyes Author

In the Beginning Hollywood Book Revies

Title: In the Beginning: The Early Days of Religious Beliefs

Author: Jaime Reyes

Publisher: Westwood Books Publishing, LLC

ISBN:  978-1-64361-830-2

Pages: 119  Genre: Fiction

Reviewed By: Dan MacIntosh









Hollywood Book Reviews



Jaime Reyes has created a story imagining the lives of Neanderthals, dating back to 65,000 BC. The purpose of his story is to show how natural it would have been for early man to invent the concept of god. It centers around a character named Og, who is particularly clever. Og has the vision to see that, if he can convince his fellow man that there are spirit gods influencing the circumstances of life, he will earn the respect of his community and – if he plays his cards right – never again have to struggle for basic survival.


In some respects, Reyes’ argument makes sense. Back before science could explain some of the more puzzling occurrences in the natural world, making a god or gods responsible for these unexplainable activities at least took some of the frightening mystery out of life. Og, however, is presented as a relatively cynical religious man. He knew full well he was making all of this stuff up, and we learn how his son Tor, knew this too. Og made sure his son knew this was all fiction but convinced him of the necessity of keeping this invented knowledge secret.


It’s more believable that this acceptance of various spirits was a collective idea. It the same way websites dedicated to such things as conspiracy theories and UFOs gain adherents once people realize there are those that believe like they do, this concept of spirit activity more than likely gained its strength in numbers. To suggest this concept of God (and gods) can be traced back to just one man’s bright idea, severely forces one to suspend disbelief. Furthermore, when you consider all those that have been (and continue to be) martyred for religious beliefs, it becomes ever tougher to accept such a condescending genesis of religion. Men and women who, say, were crucified upside down, which was the cruel way many of the early Christians died, were nothing if not sincere in their spiritual beliefs.


Reyes also inputs a little historical revisionism into his story when he writes about how this fictitious tribe learns to value the skills of female warriors — like one character named Mina. When you consider how we’re still in 2019 trying to create more equality for women in the workforce, it’s tough to swallow that females were given such rapid respect back during the Neanderthal era.


This story is set in a difficult era to create a work of fiction. As Reyes points out in some of the book’s supplementary material, there’s still so much we don’t know about human life back then. We don’t know, for instance how advanced Neanderthals’ speaking abilities were. Reyes features characters speaking to one another, much the same way humans talk today. He bases this dialogue on the modern knowledge that “studies negate the previous beliefs that Neanderthals were apelike, brutish beasts of limited intellect, speechless, and generally inferior to later humans.” Perhaps, these forebearers fell somewhere between stereotypical grunting beasts, and The Flintstones. Of course, had they been nothing more than simpleton noisemakers, Reyes would not have been able to create his story at all.


Whether you agree with Reyes’ theories about early religion or not, he deserves kudos for fashioning a story centered around an ancient human era. This took more imagination than most book settings and takes historical fiction to a whole new extreme. Reading this book does make you wonder what life might have been like at this point in evolution. Sure, much of it is still theoretical, at best. However, when a book makes you imagine what the world might have been like a long time before you and I came on the scene, it’s fascinating, indeed.


Scroll to Top